Fasting and Peace

copyright 2013 Ellen Hrkach please do not use without permission

copyright 2013 Ellen Hrkach please do not use without permission

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”   The opening words to the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” are simple but profound.

Of course, everyone wants peace: no wars, no bickering, no slavery, no oppression etc. However, when we start arguing with someone about an insignificant topic, or when we don’t want to admit we’re wrong, or when we have a hard time forgiving someone, it’s hard to find that peace within ourselves.

The truth is that peace does begin “with me.”

How can we cultivate this peace in our hearts?

It might seem like a simple answer, but regular fasting (together with prayer) cultivates peace in our hearts. Fasting invites the Holy Spirit in to heal our hearts, our relationship with God and our relationship with others.

Let’s take for example, forgiving someone. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are all called to be merciful and forgive those who have hurt or offended us.

But what if the offense is grievous? Say, like torture, abuse, rape or murder? And what if the person we must forgive is not repentant?

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Jesus didn’t give any exceptions to this rule. We will be forgiven as we forgive those who trespass against us. We are still called to be merciful and to forgive regardless of the offense. We are all called to have peace in our hearts. Forgiveness and showing mercy to others helps heal our hearts and souls. However, forgiving someone, especially those who have grievously harmed us, is not easy and it is impossible without God’s grace. Fasting opens our hearts to this beautiful grace and peace.

The testimony below from one of the Live the Fast community members might help to illustrate this:

“Throughout my life, a relative of mine was verbally abusive to me and to others in our family. Eventually, she was diagnosed with a mental illness and, with medication, she was able to stop being verbally abusive. When she got older and began exhibiting signs of dementia, however, it seemed like she was falling back into her former caustic verbal abuse. I had thought that I had forgiven her, but realized that I never did forgive her for all the cruel things she had said and done to me. At that point, I had already been fasting for several months and someone had suggested that I fast and pray for this relative in order to help me to forgive her. So I fasted and prayed for her and eventually, I realized that I had been able to forgive her and to speak about and treat her with the utmost love and kindness. I don’t think I could have done that without praying and fasting for her.”

Lent is a time of change and sacrifice. Fasting and prayer together will help cultivate peace and forgiveness in our hearts. Fasting will invite the Holy Spirit in to heal our hearts, our relationship with God and our relationship with others.

Fasting is not an easy practice with our society’s current tendency to overindulge. However, if you can do penitential acts during Lent, if you can fast during Lent, then you can fast all year round!

For more information on how to get started with fasting, check out our website (http://livethefast.org) Always check with your physician before beginning any fasting routine.

To sign up for LTF’s free biweekly fasting newsletter, click here.

Live the Fast is a Roman Catholic Apostolate that is focused on bringing more awareness to the discipline of fasting by offering educational resources on prayer and fasting, a prayer community that will inspire one to live the fast and providing nutritious fasting breads. (Priests and religious receive fasting breads and resources free of charge.)

A List of Inspiring Theology of the Body Fiction: #ShowUsYourList

showusyourlistlogoErin over at “Will Write For Tomato Pie” has a wonderful idea of having bloggers create alternate lists of entertaining books that are true, beautiful and good. Here is her challenge and mine as well!

“I challenge anyone who complained about 50 shades of anything to now spend some time and energy promoting entertainment that is true, beautiful and good.”

I posted about the “Antidote to #50Shades of Degradation: TOB Fiction: over at Amazing Catechists last week. Below is the list of Theology of the Body Fiction that I recommended and continue to recommend as “true, beautiful and good!” (Pardon the self-promotion of my own books and those of my publishing company!)

St. John Paul II said we can “overcome evil with good.” Here is a list of contemporary Catholic novels (in order of publication date) with Theology of the Body themes that can uplift, inspire and serve as an antidote to ALL the secular, trashy novels that promote illicit lifestyles. These novels encourage virtue rather than vice, respect rather than domination, and love rather than lust.

Emily’s Hope (Ellen Gable, 2005, FQ Publishing)

Passport (Christopher Blunt, 2008, Pelican Crossing Press)

Midnight Dancers (Regina Doman, 2008, Chesterton Press)

In Name Only (Ellen Gable, 2009, FQ Publishing)

Stealing Jenny (Ellen Gable, 2011, FQ Publishing)

Finding Grace (Laura Pearl, 2012, Bezalel Books)

Angela’s Song (AnnMarie Creedon, 2012, FQ Publishing)

Rapunzel Let Down (Regina Doman, 2013, Chesterton Press)

Vingede (Friar Tobe #2) (Krisi Keley, 2013, S & H Publishing)

Don’t You Forget About Me (Erin McCole Cupp, 2013, FQ Publishing)

A Subtle Grace (Ellen Gable, 2014, FQ Publishing)

The Lion’s Heart (Dena Hunt, 2014, FQ Publishing)

A World Such as Heaven Intended (Amanda Lauer, 2014, FQ Publishing)

Working Mother (Erin McCole Cupp, 2014, FQ Publishing)

Feast of the Epiphany

On Epiphany Sunday, our family has continued a tradition of reciting a blessing and marking the lintel of every doorway in our home (usually with chalk) indicating the year and the initials of the wise men (Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar): 20 C M B 15. (Photo to the right is from a few years ago!) CMB also stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Latin for “May Christ Bless this House.”

For more information on this beautiful tradition, the following website has some great readings and more information on this beautiful blessing:
http://www.liturgy.co.nz/blog/epiphany-chalk-house-blessing-2/4942

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 54

7_quick_takes_sm1It’s Friday and time to join up with other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. Prayer Requests
Please continue to keep Jen from Conversion Diary in your prayers. Also, I’d like to ask readers to pray for fellow CatholicMom contributor, Cassandra Poppe’s son, Fulton. He was severely burned in an accident. Prayers and donations are needed. Here’s the website: http://www.giveforward.com/PrayForFulton

2. Stealing Jenny Reaches 100 Reviews!
My novel, Stealing Jenny, just received its 100th review on Amazon with a 4.3 average ranking! Woo hoo! It was #1 for most of the month of December, has been in the top three for the past week, and in the top ten for the past 18 months.

3. Ellen Gable Author Facebook page
Please consider “liking” my author page. You can either click the link or click the link at the side bar to the right and just below the Stealing Jenny cover photo. There will be weekly free giveaways listed over the next few months and news about upcoming books.

4. Bring Him Home
With the recent release of Les Miserables, I decided to post a video on Facebook of my husband’s moving rendition of “Bring Him Home” (which was recorded nearly four years ago at my surprise 50th birthday concert). Please feel free to take a look and let me know what you think. You need not have a Facebook account to watch the video, although if you want to comment or “like” the video, you’ll need to have a Facebook account.

One of the reasons I wanted to post this video is because “Bring Him Home” is my favorite song of Les Mis. On the whole, I enjoyed Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Jean Valjean very much, although I was disappointed with his “live” rendition of this particular song.

5. A Subtle Grace
I’ve been busy editing and trying to finish my latest work in progress, A Subtle Grace, the sequel to In Name Only which continues the saga of the O’Donovan Family. I’m specifically writing this book so that it can be read independent of the other, although reading both will give a more complete experience.

A Subtle Grace takes place in 1896 in Philadelphia. Each week during 7 Quick Takes Friday, I’d like to introduce one character from the book. This week: Kathleen O’Donovan, main female protagonist, is the oldest daughter of Caroline (main female protagonist of In Name Only) and her late husband, Liam O’Donovan. At the beginning of the story, Kathleen is 19 years of age and present with her mother as the older woman gives birth to another baby. Kathleen is the oldest of six children (soon-to-be seven children). She is naive, carefree and innocent although an unforeseen circumstance causes her to question everything she has believed about herself and her family.

6. Reading List
The Lion’s Heart by Dena Hunt

7. Cartoon – Skydiving

image copyright FQP - James/Ellen Hrkach

image copyright FQP – James/Ellen Hrkach

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Special Cyber Monday Offers

Full Quiver Publishing is offering three deals for Cyber Monday (this Monday, November 28):

ONE DAY ONLY – NOVEMBER 28

Offer #1 Stealing Jenny print edition is available for 6.50 and shipping is free! Usual price is 12.99 plus shipping so that’s less than half-price! Email us at
info @ fullquiverpublishing.com with your address to receive your free book. LIMIT ONE PER FAMILY.

Offer #2 Stealing Jenny Kindle edition is FREE on Monday, November 28th. To receive your free Kindle book, just send your email address to info @ fullquiverpublishing.com.

Offer #3 Buy Stealing Jenny either print or Kindle and receive a FREE PRINT copy of Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship. To receive your free book ($13.00 value),
send your Amazon order confirmation email to
info @ fullquiverpublishing.com.

Sunday Snippets – October 16

Join me at RAnn’s Place where Catholic bloggers share posts from the previous week. Please check out the other bloggers’ posts!

Here are my contributions for the week:

Working With An Editor, my post for the Catholic Writers Guild blog

Desperate Plea for Help, about our friend’s desperation when his girlfriend was enticed into a cult.

My Relatives Are My Biggest Fans (Photo)

Powerful Weapon The Holy Rosary can be a powerful weapon…

Fiction Friday – Review of Pro Luce Habere

Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach